“I’m late, I’m late for
A very important date.
No time to say hello, good-bye,
I’m late, I’m late, I’m late” Lewis Carroll/Walt Disney Films
When Alice fell down the rabbit hole, in Lewis Carroll’s ageless children’s story; she meets the white rabbit who spends his time rushing from one appointment to another, constantly running late with no time for the niceties of life. In a way we all know or are this white rabbit. With all the pressures of deadlines, meetings, economy, answering emails, not to mention social events, families, parents evening, the dentist, playdates, facebook updates and so on, it is easy to see why “Time-poverty” has become an everyday issue in the western world. Like the white rabbit many people feel rushed off their feet with no time in their life.
“I’m late and when I wave,
I lose the time I save.”
Poor old rabbit is obsessed with time as is modern man. Time means money. Therefore we are all obsessed with saving time, doing things in time and using time productively. I know I personally became incredibly bitter about not having time to do the things I wanted to do at a period in my life where I had a daily 5 hour commute and a family to cook, clean and wash clothes for (not to mention all the little extra time stealing jobs like potty training). I became lack of time obsessed. The bitterness and resentment simply added to my stress and made me hell to live with.
So what’s the solution? Part of this is simply beginning to accept that there is enough time to do what you want to do. After all our actions are born of our own choices. Accept that there is enough time. “Fine!” I hear you say “But what about all the deadlines and appointments I have ? They aren’t going away!” Of course not. Acceptance is not a magic wand, it won’t wave away everything that needs to be done. However what will help you is to start using your time consciously. Your time is one of your most important possessions. By taking control of your time you take control of choosing how you want to spend your time, in essence you choose how you want your life to be.
Here is my recipe for taking control of your time and showing yourself that you value yourself by how you choose to use your time. These simple steps turned me from an embittered time miser to the person with an abundance of time I am today.
Accepting there is enough time is a challenge. (Believe me this one took me awhile) It’s about changing the dialogue in your mind. If you tell yourself you don’t have enough time you won’t have enough time. In a way you are right, none of us has unlimited time, however we have the time we have. You have all the time you need to do what you choose to do.
So to accept change your inner dialogue. Every time the stressed bunny pops up into your head, screaming that you don’t have enough time, repeat this mantra in your head and eventually the stress bunny will disappear down the rabbit hole for good.
I have all the time I need to do what I choose to do.
I have the time I have
3 list system
By now you all know how I love my lists. I actually use a three list system and it works. I have a notebook within which I write down everything I want to do in that month and that includes the fun stuff too. Then each week I check in with that list cross of what I have achieved and then make a list of what I want to do for the next week. Each morning I use that week list to help me plan my day. AND I remember to make at least 30 mins of ME time every day-very important and not to be sniffed at.
Some people recommend making daily lists in the morning, some on the evening before. I recommend what works for you. The best part is the feeling of self satisfaction you get from crossing off the things you have completed!
Oh and remember the 70% rule. A day where you have accomplished 70% of what you wanted to do is a HUGE success. Remember you have the time you have.
I found this system in the book Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy, it works. So once you have your plan for the day write ABCD or E next to the goal.
“A” is for “very important;” something you must do.
“B” is for “important;” something you should do. This is not as important as your ‘A’ goals..
“C” stands for things that are “nice to do;” but which are not really as important as ‘A’ or ‘B,’ goals.
“D” stands for “delegate. If someone else can do it then delegate.
“E” stands for “eliminate, if possible. This is the least important thing for this day. Although make sure this is not the fun thing or the you time in this day. You time is equally as important as a deadline or helping little Johnny make his macaroni T-rex sculpture for science day.)
Repetition and Structure
Structure helps us all. I fought this for a long time, even after I got a sickness for life that demands structure. What I didn’t realise is that structure actually gives freedom. When I know what I am doing for the week I can choose to go to a late movie or a bottle of wine or two dinner, because I know when it’s the best time for me to do it.
For me the best way of structuring is repetition. For example Mr T and I eat the same dinner 4-5 nights a week. We only have to cook it once and then reheat it. The other days we take it in turns to make something nice. I tend to write at the same times every day and give myself only 1 hour at a time. Bedtime is the same 5 times a week. I even once read about a successful CO that wore the same clothes everyday (hopefully fresh versions of the same clothes otherwise ewww!) However you choose to do it find some ways to make repetition in your life. These repeated habits become automatic and easy. It frees up so much time.
Decide what kind of day you want
I found this wonderful tip online (I am afraid I can’t remember who and where I found it or of course I would credit you). In the morning, maybe whilst making your daily list or eating your breakfast, decide how you want to feel this evening when you sit down to dinner. What do you want to feel good about? And that is simply the most important goal of the day. Whatever it is, however you imagine it go for that. After all it’s your time, choose how you want to spend it.
So to recap to take control of your time-poverty;
- Accept you have the time you have
- Make lists and plan your day
- Prioritise your goals with ABCDE
- Decide what kind of day you want to have
Take steps to consciously be in charge of your time and show yourself how much you value you by taking care of your most precious possession.
Have a lovely day, however you choose to spend it 🙂